Past studies have pointed to a tendency for Statistics Canada to revise production estimates higher for many crops when final estimates are reported in early December. This crop year's dry conditions in the southern Prairies, and challenging weather that dragged harvest into October/November and making crops increasingly difficult to pick up, may lead to different results this crop year.
As seen on the attached chart of selected crops, there are two instances where Saskatchewan Agriculture estimated higher average yields than released earlier in the fall in Statistics Canada's model-based estimates (blue bars). This is seen in barley, with Saskatchewan Ag's estimate being 1 bushel per acre higher than Statistics Canada at 61 bpa. As well, the Saskatchewan Agriculture hard red spring wheat estimate is .6 bpa higher than Statistics Canada at 43 bpa.
Based on reported data, yields estimated by the two provincial governments are consistent in pointing to lower production of canola, oats, peas, and durum. Perhaps the elephant in the room is canola production, which is calculated to see production revised 1.1 mmt lower, based on a 774,426-metric ton revision in Saskatchewan and a 350,018-mt revision in Alberta, which would point to 19.9 mmt of production. This still exceeds 19.6 mmt estimated by Informa in its November World Crop Report released one week ago.
As seen on the attached chart, the durum crop could also face close to 400,000 mt reduced in production from Statistics Canada's model-based approach, with the boots-on-the-ground method showing a less-optimistic view of the crop's potential in both provinces.
The attached chart also shows the higher hard red spring production estimated in Saskatchewan could be offset by the lower spring wheat yield estimate for all spring wheat expected in Alberta.
It is important to note that Alberta Agriculture's yield estimates are for dryland yields only, therefore understating the size of the entire crop. As a result, the provincial government's yield estimates almost consistently lag the final Statistics Canada estimates for the province's crop. As a result, for the purposes of this study, Alberta's yield estimate for both wheat and barley were inflated by the five-year average spread seen between Alberta's estimate and Statistics Canada's final estimate, which acted to lower the expected production shortfall relative to Statistics Canada's current estimates.
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